We have demonstrated that skin viability decreases at a measurable rate following death in an animal model. The decreased skin viability was measured by fluorescein diacetate and ethidium bromide using fluorescence emission spectroscopy. There is significant decrease of the fluorescence intensity of the fluorescein diacetate assay between the 1–4 h, the 6–24 h, and the >40 h time points postmortem. For times between 6–24 h and >40 h postmortem the ethidium bromide assay showed consistent and significant increases in signal. The fluorescence measurements in this study showed that under the experimental conditions the time of death could be determined for <4, 6–24, and >40 h potmotrem. The application of these assays in the field will require further study of the environmental factors.
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